The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.


DEO was relying on an on-premise Exchange 2007 to send, receive and store its email.  The Department recognized the need to upgrade to a more modern system, and saw the benefit of moving to the Azure environment to reduce hardware overhead and increase stability and security.


Cloud Navigator’s strategy followed Microsoft best practices for an Exchange 2007 migration to Exchange Online (O365). Because there is no method for migrating directly from Exchange 2007 to Exchange Online, we implemented an Exchange 2010 server with a hybrid configuration into the DEO existing Exchange 2007 organization. The term hybrid or coexistence describes a scenario in which two separate Exchange organizations that belong to different Active Directory forests are working as a “one unit”. Hybrid configuration describes the relationship between the Exchange On-Premise infrastructure and the cloud (Exchange Online) infrastructure.

Cloud Navigator implemented Microsoft Azure AD Connect technology for identity and group synchronization from DEO’s on-premise Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to the cloud based Office 365 directory (Windows Azure Active Directory), along with Microsoft ADFS federation service for secure credential authentication and redirection to DEO’s branded on-premise AD environment. This configuration allows for similar on-premise administration of mailbox users to DEO’s previous management processes. Through this architecture we migrated 500+ shared and resource mailboxes and 2700 user mailboxes to O365, along with nearly 100 GB of public folder data. All mailboxes were placed on “Litigation Hold” to prevent deletion of any email from the mailboxes. In conjunction with the email migration, we transitioned DEO from utilizing IronPort Security Appliance and externally hosted Can-It spam filtering to the Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology within O365.

DEO was using several versions of Microsoft Office on their desktops. Our recommended approach was to upgrade to Office 2013 ahead of mailbox migration. This approach greatly reduces business interruption and end user client side issues, thereby enriching the end user’s experience with the new cloud based O365 suite.  DEO already had a licensed production deployment of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM) to perform desktop patching and application software package deployment. We performed initial discovery analysis to identify the various states of the DEO desktops and the requirements for each of the Office suite and Lync install packages. Development and testing of the multiple installation packages was completed by us in conjunction with DEO technical staff to provide necessary knowledge transfer.  We also recommended removal of previous versions of the Office suite. Leveraging SCCM 2007, Microsoft Click-to-Run, Office removal scripts, and Group Policy Objects (GPO) technology, Cloud Navigator achieved a “silent deployment” of Office 365 Pro Plus (Office 2013) to a combination of 2500+ desktops and laptops in just a few weeks.


Through solid communication planning and a sound technical roadmap DEO and Cloud Navigator were able to produce test, pilot, and deployment strategies to minimize the impact on business. DEO reported a support incident rate of less than .005% (<100 tickets) for the Office suite deployment.